Soldiers Help Veteran's Dream Come True
(October 27, 2010)
Pfc. Brandon Eady and Pfc. Lucas Whittaker, both light-wheeled vehicle mechanics assigned to the 103d Engineer Company, excavate a former retaining wall outside a local veteran's home in Mansfield Oct. 23, 2010. Eady is a native if Miami. Whittaker is a native of Beckley, W.Va.
|FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. -- Soldiers from the 103d Engineer Company spent their weekend giving back to the community by volunteering their time and skill to rebuild a local veteran's home in preparation for his return from a two-year stay at a long-term care facility after surviving a stroke.|
What began as a post tradition to participate in ‘Make a Difference Day' has become a project that will span over the next month due to the meticulous detail and dedication of nine engineer Soldiers.
“When I do a job, I want to make sure it's done right,” said Sgt. Joseph Feick, an equipment operator assigned to the 103d Engineer Company. “It may take longer than we expected, but I want the finished product to be something safe and sound... something we all can be proud of.”
Reconstruction will consist of widening doorways inside the home for wheelchair access, repairing a retaining wall that will support a new driveway and paved ramp leading into the home, and a complete renovation of the downstairs bathroom to become fully handicap accessible.
The project began Saturday, Oct. 24, in Mansfield and has been funded solely by the veteran, Wright Bogart's daughter, Rhonda Stanton.
“On Father's Day, Wright asked to go home and I just didn't know how we could make that happen,” said Stanton.
|He had planned to retire in his home and had set aside a specific amount of money to make that happen, but renovating the home for wheelchair accessibility and paying for around-the-clock care weren't exactly calculated into the initial cost, she added.|
The project finally began to come together when Bogart's friends and family reached out to the community for help.
Local Mansfield companies began to donate equipment and other resources to anyone who would volunteer their time and take on the renovation project.
“Helping Mr. Bogart was a matter of ‘if' we could help out, but ‘when' we could start,” said Cpt. Todd Bradford, the 103d Engineer Company commander. “Make a Difference Day provided a great opportunity by allowing us the time to help out a fellow Soldier.”
Once the soldiers were authorized to put their skills to work, they began coordinating with Stanton to assess the needs of Bogart and put together a plan of action to make Bogart's dream of coming home, a reality.
“My dad hasn't had much to look forward to after he was told that he wouldn't fully recover, but returning to his home, that he prepared to retire in...that is something I know he is greatly looking forward to,” said Stanton. “Right now, it seems that ‘thank-you' just isn't enough.”
Bogart was drafted during the Vietnam War and served as a military policeman. He worked at the Electric Co Op, Se Ma No in Mansfield. Bogart served on the Missouri Silver Haired Legislature and was on the Southwest Missouri Office on Aging Board of Directors.
Article and photo by Army Sgt. Heather Denby
4th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade
Provided through DVIDS
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